U.S., 25 Other Countries Seek India’s Help In Evacuating Its Citizens From War-Torn Yemen

In what is seen by many as India’s increasing clout in world geopolitical affairs, Al-Jazeera reports that the giant South Asian country is leading the evacuation efforts in war-torn Yemen. According to the report, India is helping evacuate citizens from over 26 countries who are still stuck in Yemen. The United States too has confirmed that it is seeking India’s help in evacuating its citizens stranded in Yemen.

On Monday, India’s Minister of External Affairs tweeted out that 23 countries had asked for India’s assistance in evacuating their citizens. Later, a spokesman for the ministry updated the list and said that a total of 26 countries — including the U.S., Germany, and France — were looking up to India for help. Although not on the list, British citizens were also evacuated by India from Yemen.

According to Firstpost, India has set up a control center in Djibouti, located just across the Gulf of Aden to monitor the evacuation efforts. India’s former army chief, VK Singh, who is now part of the BP-led government in India, is on the ground spearheading the evacuation efforts in Yemen.

As already reported by the Inquisitr, the situation in Yemen has been gradually spiraling out of control as the conflict between the local Houthi rebels and forces loyal to the ousted president intensified over the course of the past few weeks. With almost all airlines flying in and out of Yemen stopping their services, there was no way that several expats living in Yemen could make it out of the country. Adding to their helplessness was the fact that almost all foreign embassies located in Yemen — including that of the U.S. — have been shut following the intensification of the conflict. It is at this juncture that the Indian government stepped in and decided to call upon its own military to help evacuate over 3,000 Indians living in Yemen.

“Requests for Indian assistance in evacuation from Yemen keeps growing,” said Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesperson for India’s ministry of External Affairs.

The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa in an online message posted on its website confirmed that India is indeed helping the U.S. in the efforts. The embassy itself closed in mid-February and currently there is no U.S. embassy staff present in Yemen, the message confirmed.

“The Indian government has offered to assist U.S. citizens who want to depart Yemen for Djibouti. This potentially includes flights out of Sanaa and ships from Aden,” the statement read.

“There are no plans for a U.S. government-coordinated evacuation of U.S. citizens at this time,” the statement added.

At this moment, there is no clarification as to why the United States, which has a large military presence in the region, is not involved in the evacuation efforts. The U.S., however, is backing the Saudi-led military strikes in Yemen. The U.S. came under increasing pressure to join the evacuation efforts after an American citizen was killed last week after he was struck by shelling. The American, identified as 40-year-old Jamal al-Labani, was a California native and is the first American casualty in the Yemeni conflict of 2015.

Meanwhile, a CNN report says that so far at least 500 people have been killed in the conflict and that over 100,000 people have been displaced. Yemen is also becoming increasingly difficult to access for aid workers from the Red Cross as well, with no cargo operator agreeing to fly into the country.

[Image Via Ministry Of External Affairs, India]